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Facilities Management – The Way Forward

Oct. 5, 2015


The Buildings where people live, work and play need to be comfortable, safe and fully operational. Consequently, these environments need to be managed and maintained effectively. Facilities management is a profession that encompasses multiple disciplines to ensure functionality of the built environment by integrating people, place, process and technology.

ISSUE:

The lives of existing public buildings are difficult to assess as all properties from the date of their erection, have been the subject of varying amounts and standards of maintenance, besides being constructed with the intention that they should last at least sixty (60) years but many exceed this period (Seeley, 1987).

Maintenance is a difficult and oftentimes complex lifetime system in any building project; however, the seriousness attached to maintenance is disappointing after a project is commissioned in many situations. The poor maintenance culture has costed our Nation, Ghana, enormous financial losses and goodwill from the taxpayer whose toil is consistently undermined through poor attitude toward the total life span of buildings especially those that belong to the State.

In the light of these observations, it is imperative to involve facilities management in preserving public and monumental buildings. This is to ensure that the facilities retain their present value and appearance and to ensure efficiency and effectiveness in the use of these facilities.

Public Institution buildings consist of both dwelling (residential accommodation) and non-dwelling (office accommodation). Both residential buildings as well as office buildings are prone to defects due to their permanent and lengthy usage. All elements of buildings deteriorate at a greater or lesser rate depending on materials and methods of construction, environmental conditions and the use of the buildings (HMSO 1972).

One of the critical problems confronting the Housing industry in Ghana is the poor maintenance practice (Afranie and Osei Tutu, 1999). The role of Public Institutions in National development cannot be over-emphasized. However, in spite of the heavy investment in public buildings, public institutions allow their structures to care for themselves and maintenance plans to preserve the quality of the buildings do not seem to be sustainable. The continued efficient and effective performance of public institutions depends on the nature and state of their buildings in addition to other factors.

Maintenance brings about improved utilization of buildings ensuring the highest safety standards. Maintenance can also be explained as the continuous protective care of the fabric, contents and settings of a place and can be categorized according to why and when it happens.

There are three categories of maintenance

  • Corrective Maintenance
  • Planned Maintenance
  • Emergency Corrective Maintenance

Corrective maintenance is necessary to bring a building to an accepted standard whereas Planned Maintenance is working to prevent failure, which recurs predictably within the life of a building such as cleaning or painting. Emergency corrective maintenance deals with work that must be initiated immediately for health, safety, security reasons or that may result in the rapid deterioration of the structure or fabric if not undertaken (for example, roof repairs after storm damage, graffiti removal, or repairing broken glasses).

A case in point is the State House Tower Block Building which was allowed to rundown for many years until it was agreed to be converted to offices to host Parliamentarians and Parliamentary activities. The deplorable state of this public building could be attributed to lack of maintenance and neglect after it was first put to use.

Facilities Management provides services that enable the day to day running of buildings covering a diverse range of services all designed to deliver a safe, compliant, clean and efficient working environment with services that are flexible and adaptable to change.

Effective facilities management, combining resources and activities, is vital to the success of any organization. At a corporate level, it contributes to the delivery of strategic and operational objectives. On a day-to day level, effective facilities management provides a safe and efficient working environment, which is essential to the performance of any business – whatever its size and scope.

Within this fast growing professional discipline, facilities managers have extensive responsibilities for providing, maintaining and developing myriad services. These range from property strategy, space management and communications infrastructure to building maintenance, administration and contract management.

Therefore we will agree that facilities management is of significance to organizations of all kinds and, as an emerging discipline, it has become the focus for the important issues of best value and client satisfaction within the management of supporting services. Well-managed services enable an organization to function at its most efficient and effective level, offering real added value improvements to the organization’s core business.

In conclusion, facilities management is being elevated to a strategic level of importance and is therefore being given the task and opportunity to contribute to business successes and to aid in the delivery of competitive advantage.

Indeed, in recent years, the range of services covered within the remit of facilities management has become more complex, as facilities management has moved into the core operational functions of client organizations. It is necessary for facilities management service providers and their clients to acknowledge the role of facilities management in the organization’s strategic operations.

 

Source: ADK Consortium, 2015